XLRI- Xavier School of Management (Jamshedpur – India) in collaboration with La Trobe Business School, organised the ‘International Conference on Responsible Marketing’ on January 23-24, 2017. XLRI is also a PRME (Principles for Responsible Management Education) signatory and in 2015-16 was ranked 4th among the prestigious 91 business schools in India. The Chairs of this conference were Prof. Pingali Venugopal, and Prof. Sanjeev Varshney from XLRI. It was co-chaired by staff from the La Trobe Business School, Associate Professor Clare D’Souza, Professor Timothy Marjoribanks and Associate Professor Suzanne Young.
The conference invited researchers and practitioners to share their understanding on Responsible Marketing and provided a forum to engage in ideas, new directions and create innovative practices that impact responsible marketing. Discussions evolved around the theoretical underpinnings of the multi-dimensional nature of sustainability, responsible marketing, ethical issues, knowledge and behaviour towards sustainable consumption.
The 56 papers presented at the conference came from different business schools in India, Australia, USA, Canada and Pakistan. It brought together a strong network of connections and provided a platform for researchers and practitioners to explore future strategies in the area. Indeed! it stirred up the ‘responsibility revolution’ for local businesses.
Fr. Abraham (SJ) gave the welcome address. Mr. Anand Sen (President, TQM and Steel Business, Tata Steel) inaugurated the conference. In his address, Mr. Anand Sen highlighted the need to advocate responsible consumption and decrease wastage. There was some discussion around XLRI activities which was given by Prof. P Venugopal.
The key note addresses were given by Fr. Oswald Mascarenhas, S.J. (JRD Tata Chair Professor of Business Ethics at XLRI), who addressed the topic of “Responsible Marketing in a Turbulent market” and Mr. B. Hariharan (Vice President, ITC Hotels) who described how ITC is “Designing & Marketing Responsible Luxury”.
Professor Timothy Marjoribanks (Associate Head of La Trobe Business School) keynote speech addressed the conference theme, as well as the profound role and reflection of LTU’s business school activities. He captured the essence of PRME, a core tenet of sustainability and highlighted LTU’s position of strength by being the first PRME signatory in Australia. His address was infused with a sense of optimism for responsible marketing. He emphasized that such opportunities for dialogue, research and collaboration with XLRI make important contributions to our common endeavor of fostering partnerships and attaining goodwill. Furthermore, cross country collaboration results in a vortex of ideas and outcomes that is highly significant.
Three of our enterprising PhD students, Mr. Peter Matheis, Ms. Anne Brouwer and Mr. Jubin Jacob John presented their work at this conference. Peter’s work hinges around ethical consumption and sustainability, where he explores the mechanics of ethical behaviour of consumers and examines the complexities of the intention-behaviour gap. Anne’s paper on greenwashing and its influences on consumer decision making offered great practical insights on how to effectively identify greenwashing. Jubin’s work resonates on institutional pressures for responsible supply chain procurement. The scientific efforts in the supply chain procurement identifies ISO 14000 standards to induce greater systemic efficacy. They were interesting papers, addressing emerging new knowledge that pioneers in scholastic and research fields within this area can use some of these theoretical underpinnings to expand their work.
Is Green Marketing – a Myth, a Fallacy or Prophecy? Several authors have provided a critique of both theory and practice on green marketing. Dr Marthin Nanere from the Business School presented his discussion around green marketing and showed how eco-labels, can contribute to progress towards greater sustainability. Taking eco labels into account and integrating it with the principles of green marketing provide opportunities for gaining competitive advantage. His paper makes a meaningful contribution to the field of responsible marketing.
In addition to the conference, there was a two-day Faculty Development Program on Responsible Marketing to help faculty and doctoral students develop curriculum and cases for teaching Responsible Marketing. In the photograph below are the participants and members of the Faculty Development Program. The Faculty Development Program was conducted by faculty from XLRI and La Trobe University. Both days had highly stimulating sessions that concluded in awarding the best team a prize for their outlined curriculum.
The buzz surrounding the conference, the sessions featuring practitioners and how they approach responsible marketing, the academic debates on responsibility and ethics whetted the audience’s appetite. La Trobe staff and students were proud to be part of this amazing conference as engaged and valued members.